EMBASSY OF SILENCE

A Finnish metal band. Oh crikey! That must be a first. All jokes aside EMBASSY OF SILENCE is another in a long line of bands worth to check out from Finland. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

I must admit that I don’t think of Finns as funny people but when I saw your album title ”Antler Velvet” I laughed. What is behind that title?
Ines: Haha, we didn’t really go for any humour there! Antler velvet is the coating that most male deer animals get on their antlers, which they later shed off in a rather gruesome- looking manner. We thought it represents self-discovery and renewing oneself, which is kinda the whole theme behind the album.

The album’s been out a while now. How does it fare? What kind of reactions have you had to it?
Ines: Things are looking rather bright at the moment, we get new fans every day and all of the reviews on our new album have been excellent. The first “batch” of the album is, to my knowledge, nearly sold-out, so it might be that we have to get a new one rolling soon enough.

Does being Finnish put pressure on you to make the national charts? Is it a failure if you don’t make it?
Ines: Actually it takes a lot of the pressure off, since there’s so much metal music being made here, and a vast majority of Finnish musicians really do their stuff, not for topping the lists or making tons of money, but for the love of music.

It seems that wherever you turn in the Finnish wilderness there is a band. What is it that makes you Finns want to play in a band?
Ines: Wish I could answer that. As I said earlier, a lot of metal music is being made in Finland, and I think that’s the key here. It’s not just about being in any type of band, but expressing our feelings and creativity seems to come in its most natural form through metal.

How much of a camaraderie is there between the Finnish metal bands? Is there a greater DIY-ethic among the bands?
Ines: The band circles are small, and especially with small and semi-big names, the solidarity and help-a-brother mentality is quite prominent. For a few examples, if a guy in a friend’s band knows how to do gig audio work, he’s probably going to mix a few gigs, and if a band needs guest musicians on albums or gigs, the help is usually available.

What does it mean when a Finnish band makes it big abroad or wins the Eurovision Song Contest to the rest of the bands? Is there any envy between the bands?
Ines: Winning the Eurovision Song contest (completely hypothetically here, of course, wink wink nudge nudge) wouldn’t earn a band any real respect as such, but it would be considered a brilliant joke. Metal musicians tend to have a good sense of humour about themselves, and I can’t say I’ve really encountered any envy. Most of us are also avid listeners to good music, and although there might be a more or less silent consensus over which bands definitely don’t deserve all the hype, we tend to pat each other on the back a lot and cheer for the other guys.

I often wonder what it is that makes a band find their sound. What was it that made you sound the way that you sound?
Tero: Our basic sound probably originated from the fact that I don’t consume vast amounts of music, but when I do, the styles vary from tender atmospheric stuff to extreme metal. I think I’m good at recognizing the good in any type of music (including the sounds) and use that to my advantage when composing the “skeletons” for our songs. When I learned to free myself from genre limitations and to not think whether “this fits our style”, our sound/style was eventually born. I guess you could call it some sort of “musical madness”. Songs become what they become by following the moods they carry. If a guitar riff sounds Russian, it’ll get played with a Balalaika, and so forth!

How much influence does the Finnish mentality have on the way you compose your songs?
Tero: A huge influence! “A pessimist never gets disappointed and shit was what this was supposed to be”…yeah, just kidding. I don’t think it really plays a role, at least in our orchestra. We do add a pinch of perverse humour now and then, maybe that’s where the Finnish mentality steps in? Then again, in my other band, Saattue (doom metal), I have to try and get really depressed in order to get any compositions done.

The Norwegians are the jolly ones, the Swedes the serious ones and the Finns are the melancholic and dark ones. The Danes are just on the side. How does the Nordic brethren influence you? Does it feel like we are one big family?
Ines: It’s not about the Nordic countries’ circle jerking, it’s more like all of the metal bands around the world have a somewhat strong sense of family, in my opinion. We can’t even say that it’s us here on our cold Northern thrones that are making the best music exclusively, times really have changed when some of the great stuff comes from France, for example! Of course Scandinavia and Finland still are the Holy Grail of metal, no question about that, but we don’t hold some mythical monopoly on the good shit anymore.

What plans do you have for the future?
Ines: We plan on doing gigs in Finland and possibly touring as well later in the autumn. We’ve already begun composing new material, a sound-junkie’s work is never done! There’s still a lot of unchartered territory and we plan to continue our promotional efforts to spread our seed far and wide. Music-wise, of course (cough).

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